Downtown Decadence

It’s no secret that Manhattan’s Financial District has been a hectic place to be in recent years—it is perhaps the epicenter of the world’s economic crisis. Needless to say, it’s a mecca for those in need of a little stress relief. Thanks to the opening of The Setai Spa at The Setai New York, a luxury residential community and club, a demanding day on Wall Street can now end with a blissful break.

Designed by Robert D. Henry Architects, the 20,000-square-foot spa reflects the flagship Setai in Miami by incorporating art deco and Asian influences with a cosmopolitan flair. “It is an urban retreat that matches the nature of the islands of the Orient with hints of Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, and Beijing,” says Robert Henry of Robert D. Henry Architects. “We wanted to create a sensual, modern vocabulary that has a bit of whimsy to it, so we merged classic art deco elements with arabesque chinoiserie fabric—something with elegance and a sense of humor, something you’d expect from the 1920s but modern.”

The experience begins upon entering the third floor spa gallery where warm Brazilian walnut surrounds an illuminated reception desk. Guests are guided to the men’s or women’s locker rooms where they can partake in the AquaGrotto hydrotherapy experience, which includes a raised marble Jacuzzi, a eucalyptus aromatherapy steam room, and a Finnish sauna. They then relax in a cozy tea lounge and sip on exotic teas and nibble on truffles and macaroons from the property’s award-winning SHO restaurant while awaiting their treatments. Treatments occur in one of 10 treatment rooms, two of which are Experiential Couples Suites that include oversized soaking tubs surrounded by mint-green Italian glass-tiled walls, luxurious rain showers, and heated massage tables.

Most of the offerings on the menu are completely customizable, and each treatment room was designed to accommodate a variety of services so that clients can relax and rejuvenate without being shuffled from room to room. “I wanted to stay with a very simple menu that provides efficacious services with easily understandable terms,” says spa director Steven O’Neal. Treatments are performed using June Jacobs products, and signature services include the Setai Citrus & Honey Renewal ($185, 60 minutes), a body exfoliation followed by a massage with a mandarin- and ginger-infused body emulsion; and the Setai Herbal Hibernation ($285, 90 minutes), which includes a soak, an enzyme facial mask, a detoxifying exfoliation, and an envelopment in nutrient-rich Moor Mud followed by a scalp and neck massage.

In spite of its downtown location, the spa is not just a haven for harried stockbrokers, though it does attract a number of executives from banking and financial institutions. The region is experiencing a renaissance with the opening of high-end residences, stores, restaurants, and hotels. As such, O’Neal and his team of 45 experienced staff members are working with a variety of partners to get the word out to a number of potential clients through several strategic partnerships. Among them are community outreach projects to private schools, banking institutions, and business owners, as well as connections with concierges at luxury-lifestyle buildings in the area. O’Neal has also launched a hotel concierge program to encourage tourist visits. “The Financial District is a highly visited tourist spot because we’re next to the Stock Exchange, and we see a lot of international tourists,” he says. “With the condominium residences upstairs, we also have a lot of international buyers who have purchased a pied à terre; they are high-net-worth individuals who are used to a certain level of detailed luxury service.”

Many of these clients are looking for the ultimate in service and take advantage of The Setai’s dual-level membership program. While the spa is open to the public, who can also access the state-of-the-art fitness and wellness studio for $100 per day or $50 per day with spa services, membership has its privileges. The Premium Membership ($5,000 annually) and the Wellness Membership ($2,500 annually) include full access to the fitness center, the wellness studio, and the AquaGrotto and locker rooms; discounts on spa services; complimentary treatments and personal training sessions; as well as access to concierge services, exclusive member club events and functions, the private members lounge, and more.

But whether guests are members or not, the spa offers a decidedly uptown experience, something that O’Neal says has never truly occurred in the area. “One of the most significant differentiators for us is that we have opened the first luxury spa in lower Manhattan,” he says. “The Setai New York was built to bring a true five-star experience to a premiere address in Manhattan. The fact is that this experience is only comparable to what you may expect from a destination spa above 53rd Street; we are the first of our kind in lower Manhattan, in the history of NYC, to introduce a luxury spa facility to this part of the island. There is a tremendous sense of energy down here—we’re proud to be pioneering and leading the luxury spa market for downtown and offering a respite for the working and residential community.”

(New York City)
OWNER: 40 Broad Commercial, an affiliate of Zamir Equities

Steven O’Neal

OPENED: February 2010

60% male
40% female

20,000 square feet;
10 treatment rooms

$7 million

aromatherapy, body treatments, couples’ treatments, energy work, facials, fitness, guided meditation, hand and foot treatments, hydrotherapy, massage, nailcare, nutrition consultation, Pilates, prenatal services, reflexology, scalp treatments, waxing, yoga

Setai Citrus & Honey Renewal ($185, 60 minutes) and the Setai Herbal Hibernation ($285, 90 minutes)

Setai Serenity Ritual ($550, 3 hours), which includes a customized selection of massage, skincare, and bodycare services

Clean + Easy Wax, DayNa Decker, HOMMAGE, June Jacobs, SpaRitual

Clodagh for Oakworks, Frette, Millennium by Harms, Precor

Robert D. Henry Architects
(New York City)

American Leisure (Nanuet, NY)